Jezero Crater or bust! NASA picks landing site for Mars 2020 rover

By Mike Wall
November 20, 2018, 11:52:06 AM EST

We now know where NASA's life-hunting, sample-caching Mars rover will touch down a few years from now.

The car-size Mars 2020 rover will explore the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater, which hosted a deep lake in the ancient past, NASA officials announced today (Nov. 19). If current schedules hold, the six-wheeled robot will launch on July 17, 2020, and touch down on Feb. 18, 2021.

nasa mars

NASA has picked Jezero Crater on Mars, part of which is shown here, as the landing site for its Mars 2020 rover. This view shows ancient water-carved deltas, fans and lake basins in the region.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/JHU-APL

"The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years old, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement today.

"Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbor life," he added.

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